Hilary C Miller

Hilary C Miller
Biomatters Ltd | Biomatters

PhD

About

88
Publications
11,144
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1,309
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2003 - December 2011
Victoria University of Wellington
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (88)
Article
Full-text available
The tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) is a species of extraordinary zoological interest, being the only surviving member of an entire order of reptiles which diverged early in amniote evolution. In addition to their unique phylogenetic placement, many aspects of tuatara biology, including temperature-dependent sex determination, cold adaptation and ext...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change poses a particular threat to species with fragmented distributions and little or no capacity to migrate. Assisted colonization, moving species into regions where they have not previously occurred, aims to establish populations where they are expected to survive as climatic envelopes shift. However, adaptation to the source environmen...
Article
Neutral genetic markers are commonly used to understand the effects of fragmentation and population bottlenecks on genetic variation in threatened species. Although neutral markers are useful for inferring population history, the analysis of functional genes is required to determine the significance of any observed geographical differences in varia...
Article
Full-text available
Hox genes are central to the specification of structures along the anterior-posterior body axis, and modifications in their expression have paralleled the emergence of diversity in vertebrate body plans. Here we describe the genomic organization of Hox clusters in different reptiles and show that squamates have accumulated unusually large numbers o...
Article
Full-text available
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are highly polymorphic components of the vertebrate immune system, which play a key role in pathogen resistance. MHC genes may also function as odour-related cues for mate choice, thus ensuring optimal MHC diversity in offspring. MHC-associated mate choice has been demonstrated in some fish, bird and mam...
Article
Full-text available
The tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus)—the only living member of the reptilian order Rhynchocephalia (Sphenodontia), once widespread across Gondwana1,2—is an iconic species that is endemic to New Zealand2,3. A key link to the now-extinct stem reptiles (from which dinosaurs, modern reptiles, birds and mammals evolved), the tuatara provides key insights i...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Preprint
Full-text available
The tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), the only living member of the archaic reptilian order Rhynchocephalia (Sphenodontia) once widespread across Gondwana, is an iconic and enigmatic terrestrial vertebrate endemic to New Zealand. A key link to the now extinct stem reptiles from which dinosaurs, modern reptiles, birds and mammals evolved, the tuatara p...
Article
Full-text available
Background Kiwi represent the most basal extant avian lineage (paleognaths) and exhibit biological attributes that are unusual or extreme among living birds, such as large egg size, strong olfaction, nocturnality, flightlessness and long lifespan. Despite intense interest in their evolution and their threatened status, genomic resources for kiwi we...
Article
Full-text available
Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes are a central component of the vertebrate immune system and usually exist in a single genomic region. However, considerable differences in MHC organization and size exist between different vertebrate lineages. Reptiles occupy a key evolutionary position for understanding how variation in MHC structure ev...
Data
FASTA file of assembled transcripts (after removal of potentially misassembled transcripts).
Data
Comma-separated file (.csv) of BLAST results. The top BLAST hit against NCBI-NR, and Anolis, zebrafinch and chicken UniGene sets is shown, as is the result of the Full-Lengther analysis. (CSV 8736 kb)
Article
Full-text available
Sea ice microalgae actively contribute to the pool of dissolved organic matter (DOM) available for bacterial metabolism, but this link has historically relied on bulk correlations between chlorophyll a (a surrogate for algal biomass) and bacterial abundance. We incubated microbes from both the bottom (congelation layer) and surface brine region of...
Data
Alignment of MHC class II B genomic DNA sequences from little spotted kiwi. The region spanning exons 1–2 was amplified with primers BRMHC05 + BirdMHC2Ex2R (no products were produced for ApowDAB*01, 04, 06 and 07), and exons 2–3 was amplified using primers BirdMHC2Ex2F + AlEx3R. Exons are shown by the bars under the sequence. Shading indicates iden...
Data
MHC genotypes of little spotted kiwi from Long and Kapiti Islands
Article
Full-text available
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are important for vertebrate immune response and typically display high levels of diversity due to balancing selection from exposure to diverse pathogens. An understanding of the structure of the MHC region and diversity among functional MHC genes is critical to understanding the evolution of the MHC and...
Article
Toll-like receptors (TLR) are an evolutionarily-conserved family of pattern recognition receptors that are a key component of innate immune responses. To understand if leukocytes from tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), an evolutionarily distinct reptile species, expressed TLR, we isolated blood leukocytes from tuatara and analysed their ability to resp...
Article
Full-text available
Tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus, is the last survivor of the distinctive reptilian order Rhynchocephalia and is a species of extraordinary zoological interest, yet only recently have genomic analyses been undertaken. The karyotype consists of 28 macrochromosomes and 8 microchromosomes. A Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) library constructed for th...
Article
Hox genes control many aspects of embryonic development in metazoans. Previous analyses of this gene family has revealed a surprising diversity in terms of gene number and organization between various animal species. In vertebrates, Hox genes are grouped into tightly organized clusters, originally claimed to be devoid of repetitive sequences. Here,...
Article
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Article
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Anthropogenic habitat fragmentation--ubiquitous in modern ecosystems--has strong impacts on gene flow and genetic population structure. Reptiles may be particularly susceptible to the effects of fragmentation because of their extreme sensitivity to environmental conditions and limited dispersal. We investigate fine-scale spatial genetic structure,...
Article
The relationship between neutral and adaptive genetic diversity is important to understand in assessing the implications of a population bottleneck. Fitness-related genes, such as those of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), may be influenced by selection, and so retain diversity even when it is lost at neutral markers. We measured MHC clas...
Article
Full-text available
The genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are a central component of the immune system in vertebrates and have become important markers of functional, fitness-related genetic variation. We have investigated the evolutionary processes that generate diversity at MHC class I genes in a large population of an archaic reptile species, the...
Article
Full-text available
In this study we investigate the geographic distribution, genetic diversity, and phylogenetic relationships of an endangered tick, Amblyomma sphenodonti (Family Ixodidae). Amblyomma sphenodonti and its host, the tuatara (Sphenodon), are found only on small offshore islands around New Zealand. Our results show that Amblyomma sphenodonti has a more s...
Article
In this study, a minimally invasive method for DNA sampling of reptiles and amphibians using cloacal and buccal swabs is described. High molecular weight DNA was isolated from the swabs, which were collected from tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), and stored in 70% ethanol at room temperature for approximately 1week. Amplification of mitochondrial and...
Article
The New Zealand robin (Petroica australis), tomtit (P. macrocephala), and Chatham Island black robin (P. traversi) are members of the Petroicidae family of Australo-Papuan robins, found throughout Australasia and the western Pacific. In the nearly 200 years since the New Zealand members of Petroicidae were first described, the division of species,...
Article
Full-text available
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is an extremely dynamic region of the genome, characterized by high polymorphism and frequent gene duplications and rearrangements. This has resulted in considerable differences in MHC organization and evolution among vertebrate lineages, particularly between birds and mammals. As nonavian reptiles are anc...
Article
The organization and evolution of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes vary considerably among vertebrate lineages. MHC genes have been well characterized in mammals, birds, amphibians and fish, but little is known about their organization in reptiles, despite the fact that reptiles occupy an important phylogenetic position for understandin...
Article
The Chatham Island black robin, Petroica traversi, is a highly inbred, endangered passerine with extremely low levels of variation at hypervariable neutral DNA markers. In this study we investigated variation in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II genes in both the black robin and its nonendangered relative, the South Island robin Petro...
Article
In contrast to mammals, the evolution of MHC genes in birds appears to be characterized by high rates of gene duplication and concerted evolution. To further our understanding of the evolution of passerine MHC genes, we have isolated class II B sequences from two species of New Zealand robins, the South Island robin (Petroica australis australis),...
Article
The study of conservation genetics traditionally uses an array of DNA based methods (Lambert and Millar 1995; Sunnucks, 2000). However, isolation of RNA may also be required, particularly in studies of genetic variation and disease where analysis of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene expression is important (Edwards and Potts 1996). Usuall...